7 Ways To Use Up Raw Milk

When I tell people our family of four sometimes consumes 6 gallons of raw milk a week, I usually get laughed at. And then follows the actual question of “How CAN you go through so much milk?!”.

Let’s think about the average family of four and how much milk or milk products they consume for a minute. Plain milk, butter, hard cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, sour cream, creamy salad dressing base, buttermilk, heavy cream, and half and half. When we really think about how much “milk” or “milk products” we consume in our daily lives, it’s actually quite a lot!

Having a family milk cow has brought so much joy to our lives. Not just the companionship of a bovine, but for the blessing she brings our bodies. Every year she blesses us with a calf (to sell or eat later) and as much as 540 gallons of milk. Yes, you read that right! Just about 2 gallons a day on a once-a-day 9 month lactation cycle. Now given a few factors, it is usually less than that. However, she blesses our bodies and kitchen every day!

All that being said, what can you do with all that milk? With a family a four, there is definitely some excess. But the family milk cow has been called “the mortgage lifter” for some very good reasons. Waste not, want not in my home. Here’s how to use up all that raw milk ol’ Bess gives you.

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1. Drink it up! Raw milk is unbelievably nutritious for you! Raw milk from a healthy grass-fed cow is a raw living food, it is alive! Consuming it in its natural raw state provides you with a complete and balanced meal all in one glass!

We consume a small glass with each meal. My husband always drinks a glass between meals to stave off hunger. But our favorite treat with raw milk is what we call “The Farmer John”. Mix 2 cups raw milk with 2 yolks from your hens, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1-2 T grade B maple syrup. This provides you with an added energy boost between meals. And its like drinking ice cream!

Farmer John Ingredients

2. Share the wealth. I give our cats and dogs raw milk with every meal. It does amazing work on their skin and coats. Just a little will do, although they’ll ask for more! Any excess can be clabbered for the chickens or soured for the pigs. Clabbering fresh raw milk does not make it go bad, it only increases its vitamin and nutrient content.

To clabber milk its best to use 1-2 week old milk and let it “clabber” on the counter. I take the lid off and leave it in a safe place for a few days. You’ll know its clabbered by the separation of the whey. Left out for a long time, you’ll get curds and whey!

3. Make kefir. Kefir is one of those things that many people don’t know about but it is gaining in popularity. You’ll find it at the store, but its pennies to make at home. You can order kefir grains online, but you can also find someone who has extra and they usually are happy to share their wealth! Milk kefir is a fermented beverage which is high in beneficial bacteria for our gut. A healthy gut is a healthy mind AND immune system.

There are different ways to use kefir but our favorite way is in fudgesicles, pancakes and smoothies in the morning! You can also make kefir cheese by taking the thick kefir and letting the whey drip out over a periods of 12-24 hours. Simply add your strained kefir to a colander double lined with cheesecloth. Tie the ends together and hang above a bowl. Over the course of 12-24 hours, the whey will separate, dripping down into the bowl. After awhile, you’ll have kefir cheese which you can put fresh herbs and salt into and enjoy spread on crackers or bread! And then, you’ll also have whey to feed to any animal or use it to jump start your fermented vegetables. Whey can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months.

kefir smoothie

4. Make yogurt. No fancy yogurt maker needed! I simply take a half gallon of milk and heat it up slowly on the stove to around 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Then I take it off the stove and let it cool to 90 degrees. Once it gets to 90 degrees I take 1 cup of the milk and 1/2 cup of yogurt from the store (or a previous batch) and mix it together. I then place that mixture back into the pot and whisk it all in. Place, with lid on, in an oven with only the light on and let culture for 8-12 hours. If after 12 hours, it isn’t thick, I let it go longer. If I need to use the oven before its done (like to make dinner) I simply remove the pot and cover it with a towel til dinner is done. Sometimes that extra boost of heat from making dinner will speed things up.

You can also strain the yogurt the same way you strain kefir, as stated above. This gives you greek yogurt or yogurt cheese. Flavor the yogurt cheese the same way as the kefir. Yogurt cheese is not as tart as kefir cheese.

5. Make farmer’s cheese. This is by FAR the easiest cheese to make, hence the name! As a farmer and homesteader, my time is limited but I love making this cheese, salting it up and snacking on it all day! Slowly heat up a gallon of raw milk to a boil. Add in 1/2 cup white vinegar or lemon juice (more if it doesn’t curd right away) and stir until all the curds have formed. What will be left in the pot is the cheese and whey. Strain off the whey in a colander double lined with cheesecloth. Save the whey, or throw it to the pigs, salt the cheese and let hang for a couple of hours. Simple.

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6. Freeze It. There will come a time when your family cow is dry. That period lasts for 2-3 months. But when she freshens, or gives birth, again she will be loaded with milk. Freeze the excess! And then you’ll have plenty of milk for the dry period. Once you are used to fresh milk, being without it is torture!

You can either freeze in plastic milk jugs (ask your friends for their clean jugs) or you can also freeze in glass jars. For tips on freezing in glass, read here. Now I realize that when SHTF, your freezer will not survive. But let’s just pretend for a minute.

7. Feed your garden. Yes, I have heard of farmers spraying their fields with raw milk! Like I mentioned above, raw milk is a complete food. It has all the vitamin and minerals we need. Therefore, adding it to our gardens and fields adds vital minerals to the soil which in turn produces a healthier crop. Now I know what you are thinking: You want me to milk my cow and then spray it on my garden? Here’s how to do it: Drink your gallon of milk but save the jar, don’t rinse it out. You’ll have a little milk left on the sides and the bottom of the jar. Simply fill it with water, swish it around and you’ll have cloudy water. What was left over in the jar is still filled with vitamins and minerals! Simply water your garden with that. You’ll have a great harvest this year! Save your money on expensive organic fertilizers and use leftover milk!

 

3(1) Ashley can be found blogging at The Browning Homestead where she writes about life on a homestead, farming, raising farm kids, and enjoying the good life.

Please join her and her adventures on Facebook and Pinterest.

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3 Responses to “7 Ways To Use Up Raw Milk”

  1. Jim Says:

    Are the curds what you put in cheese mold? I see you have a Jersey. They always have the best milk and butter.

    Reply

  2. Kendra Lynne Says:

    Oh my gosh, I want a cow even more now, lol! We’ve had milk goats, and they’re great, but you don’t get nearly as much milk from one goat as you get from a cow. Thanks for sharing so many great ideas with us, Ashley!! I look forward to trying some of your recipes. :)

    Reply

  3. Debbie Says:

    the whey makes fantastic bread.

    Reply

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